For all of my fellow American followers—it’s Election Day! Regardless of which party you prefer, I think we can all agree on one thing—it’s fun to eat yummy food! 4 years ago, when we had the last presidential election, I made an American inspired feast for Irving and I including classics like hot dogs and apple pie. This time around Irving is travelling for work, but I have my little buddy here with me and he enjoys good food as much as his mama! We are going to feast on a new mac and cheese recipe I’ve concocted, Field Roast frankfurters, and for dessert we will have Apple Hand Pies with Rum Raisins! That’s a mouthful—which is fitting for this yummy treat!
My mom made cherry hand pies for 4th of July one year and I really loved them. However, after becoming vegan I assumed that puff pastry was a thing of my non-vegan past. So you can imagine my shock and delight when I found out that puff pastry actually is vegan. I know, can that really be? Ok, it’s not exactly healthy food, but I ‘m not suggesting that you eat this every day! While the larger brands like Pepperidge Farm use a pretty long list of ingredients, I found a brand made here in Seattle with just 7 ingredients (3 if you don’t call out all of the enriched flour ingredients separately.). Better yet, it is the real deal! I made these tonight and tested them out on my family—it’s a tough job, but how could I share a recipe that had never been tried out before? All in the name of a good blog!
I consulted a number of sources for different takes on apple pie fillings and mixed and matched until I had something I really liked. I got great advice from the Joy of Cooking
—my cooking Bible! It said that apples really have a tendency to shrink when they cook, so it suggested you “preshrink” your apples by sautéing them first before using them as a filling so you wouldn’t have any hollow spots in your pie. And it works!
There are a few steps to these little pies, but none are hard, and no matter how they turn out, they will still be flaky crusts topped with sugar and stuffed with apples and cinnamon! There is no way to go wrong here. I made them in two sizes—if you are just serving one dessert you might like the large size, but if you find yourself serving a dessert buffet and want your guests to try one of everything, the mini size may be your best bet!
Hope you enjoy my American dessert! What patriotic dishes are you serving tonight while you watch the election coverage?
Apple Hand Pies with Rum Raisin, makes 8 regular sized servings, or 16 mini
1 c rum (dark rum would be good, I used Captain Morgans Spiced Rum. If you don’t want to use alcohol you could use apple juice or even water).
2/3 c raisins
4 heaping cups of apples, peeled and diced to match the size of the raisins (I used 4 regular sized apples)
2 T coconut oil
2 T dark brown sugar (I used muscavado because I was out of regular brown sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 T cornstarch mixed with 1 T cold water
1 package (2 9×9 squares) of Aussie Bakery Puff Pastry or other vegan puff pastry (can be found in Whole Foods, PCC)
1 T non dairy milk (I used almond)
a few T of coarse granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
Remove puff pastry from packaging and allow to sit at room temperature on a lightly floured surface for 45 minutes to thaw. Do not try to unfold until it has completely thawed or it will break.
Meanwhile, heat rum in a small saucepan over medium high heat and add raisins. Let simmer until raisins have absorbed all of the rum. Remove from heat.
Peel apples and cut into a small dice. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet until it melts and add the apples. Mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Allow to cook for 4 minutes to release the juices. Mix the cornstarch slurry in to the apples to thicken the sauce a bit. Add raisins and mix well. Remove from heat.
Once the puff pastry has thawed, unfold 1 sheet. Lightly coat both sides with flour. Use your rolling pin to roll the dough out to about 12×12 inches. If you are making the larger size pies, cut into 4 pieces. If you are making the mini pies, cut into 8 pieces. Place a small amount of filling on one half of each square, leaving a small border on the three outside edges (about 3-4 T for the large pies, 1-2 T for the mini pies).
Fold each piece of dough over the filling, stretching it a bit to make sure all edges are flush. Then use a fork to crimp the edges, pushing down and making sure the two layers of dough really meet. Set on a pan lined with parchment paper and continue until all pies are assembled.
With a sharp paring knife, cut small vents into the top of each pie. Pour almond milk into a small bowl and use a pastry brush to brush the tops of all pies. Sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sheet of pies into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill, allowing the dough to firm back up. Once chilled, place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving. These can be stored overnight at room temperature in a seal container. Also, for those of you who like to work ahead, I’m experimenting with freezing them! I have two unbaked pies in the freezer right now and will bake them off next week. I will keep you posted on how they turn out!